Why San Diego State Can Win Mountain West Tournament
Aztec’s are the clear favorite.
SDSU gonna win it all?
It’s March, finally.
A year ago, almost to the day, the NCAA tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the virus rages on still, the tournament is set to be played in it’s entirety in one city — Indianapolis.
With that being said, conference tournaments are taking place around the nation and the Mountain West tournament is scheduled to being this upcoming week in Las Vegas.
A conference that once had hopes of getting as many as four teams in might only see one, thanks to a late season collapse from Utah State and Boise State losing a pair to the Aztecs and a make up game to the lowly Fresno State Bulldogs.
The Aztecs of San Diego State have claimed the top seed in the tournament and here’s why they will be winning the whole thing again.
Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel
The pair of seniors flirted with leaving school for the NBA last year but decided to come back, not just to win the MWC, but to make a run in March Madness.
Mitchell is averaging 15.4 points per game and Schakel is averaging 14.4 and they have both been huge parts of the success for this program throughout their careers.
They are hard to stop, and when it comes down to it, they should be too much to handle for any team down the stretch.
Terrell Gomez and Trey Pulliam
On the surface, Pulliam’s numbers don’t jump off the page, but make no mistake- he’s been a vital part of their 20-win season so far.
He does everything you want, pass, rebound, score, and play defense and has been the number one general on the floor for the Aztecs.
As for Gomez, he transferred from Cal State Northridge with the hopes of winning a conference title. Check.
Next in mind is a MWC tournament title and his shooting has been huge for an Aztecs team that needed to find some way to make up for Malachi Flynn’s scoring as he departed for the NBA.
Nathan Mensah and Aguek Arop
Mensah missed the MWC tournament last season and it was perhaps the biggest reason why the Aztecs didn’t grab the postseason title.
Who are you taking to win the Mountain West title?
— Mountain West Wire (@MWCwire) March 7, 2021
However, he’s healthy and ready to roll and is taking names as the junior big man has been incredible all year.
He’s averaging 8.8 points with 6.3 boards and is a mess on both ends of the floor and just gives opposing teams headaches.
As for Arop, he’s missed a decent amount of games due to injury, and missed the last game against UNLV as well.
He should-hopefully- be ready to go next week in the tournament and also creates huge problems, especially on the defensive end, which is something the Aztecs live and die on for the past two decades.
The rest and the win streak
That’s already a lot of talent and that’s not everybody.
Joshua Tomaic came over with eyes on a postseason berth and will be giving it his all until the clock strikes zero.
Lamont Butler and Keshad Johnson are the future of this Aztecs’ squad and will take the reins next year as the senior duo of Mitchell and Schakel head out, assuming they don’t take an extra year as granted by the NCAA.
Oh, and by the way, the Aztecs are the hottest team in the conference and one of the hottest in the entire NCAA.
Brian Dutcher’s bunch has rattled off 11 straight victories and has found their way back into the top 20 of the Associated Press rankings, a number which will only go up if they find a way to win the MWC tournament.
This team had many doubters after losing to BYU and losing a pair to Utah State.
Unfortunately for the rest of the Mountain West they have hit their stride at the perfect time and should be cutting down the nets next Saturday in Las Vegas.